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Commentary: Keeping Art Way

The intention of the suggested — and now controversial — name change for Art Way in the 18b Arts District is to honor a Las Vegas artist who loved creativity and taught art to many in our community. But it does not make sense to honor her memory by taking away a street name that identifies our city’s artistic hub, and perhaps negatively impacting its commercial endeavors.

In a video uploaded to YouTube posthumously, Joyce Straus says, “I not only operate on the right side of the brain but on the left as well, and I think that’s how you get a really successful business.” Highly creative, logical and business-savvy, Straus undoubtedly would opt for something that would positively affect the area and simultaneously build up Las Vegas arts and the surrounding businesses. I’m certain she would object to her memorial bringing turmoil, dissension and the possibility of financial damage to an area and cause so dear to her. As Hiptazmic Studio owner Christine Esposito wrote on the webpage petitioning for Art Way to retain its name: “This is important to me since I have a studio located inside the Arts Factory, right at the corner of Art Way and Charleston [Boulevard], and I use it for my business [to identify] my specific location and for all of the 18b Arts District in general.”

In that same YouTube video, Straus passionately advocates that “we must do things that nurture our souls.” Will having a street named after her nurture the soul of the Arts District? If so, why not honor her with different street?